When former India captain Sourav Ganguly took charge as BCCI President in October 2019, there were high hopes from the ‘Dada’ of Indian cricket. Ganguly had taken charge of Indian cricket as a leader in the aftermath of the 2000 match-fixing scandal, and did a commendable job. As such, he was expected to bring in refreshing change in the BCCI as well. However, the administration is a completely different cup of tea and Ganguly has found the role rather challenging. Even considering the fact that his tenure has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ganguly’s stint has been disappointing.
1. The IPL 2021 fiasco
While it is true that IPL serves as much-needed employment for many players and other people involved in the tournament, given the circumstances the T20 league was always doomed to fail. Despite the bio-bubble in place, it was only a matter of time before COVID-19 breached the secure bubble. Unlike IPL 2020, where travel was limited, this year the event was held at multiple venues, which entailed greater movement of players. And, from the reports that are coming in, the bio-bubble wasn’t as secure as it was meant to be. UAE had successfully hosted the event a few months back, and there was no reason why they shouldn’t have hosted it again.
2. The sad Veda Krishnamurthy situation
Former Australian women’s team captain Lisa Sthalekar expressed anger after BCCI failed to check on Veda Krishnamurthy after she lost her mother and sister due to COVID-19. She was also disappointed that the cricket board did not communicate to the bereaved Indian cricketer over the decision to not include her for the upcoming tour of England. Sthalekar clearly has a point. Under the current circumstances, it is imperative for the cricket boards to look after their players’ well-being. BCCI and Ganguly could have done better in this regard.
3. Not enough being done for women’s cricket
Over the years, BCCI has always given secondary treatment to women’s cricket. That was expected to change under Ganguly. However, the pandemic once again proved where BCCI’s priorities lie. The men’s cricket resumed with the IPL in the UAE a few months after COVID-19 struck the world. The Indian men then played a full series against England at home. The women’s team had to wait a whole year since the T20 World Cup final to make their comeback to international cricket. India will play England in a one-off Test in Bristol in June, followed by three ODIs and three T20Is, but the women’s team are still waiting for their IPL.
4. Delayed payment for first-class cricketers
At the time of his election as BCCI president, Ganguly has said that the board will bring in “a contract system” for first-class cricketers, and that the new finance sub-committee will be asked to put the process in place for it to happen. He was quoted as saying back then, “My biggest priority will be to look after first-class cricketers. The first thing I will do, look after the financial health of our first-class cricketers.” During COVID-19 though, a number of cricketers, whose only source of income was playing domestic cricket, received delayed payments, leaving them in a lurch.
5. WV Raman controversy
Former Indian women’s coach WV Raman recently sent shockwaves through the Indian cricketing community when he wrote to Ganguly and NCA chief Rahul Dravid that there was a smear campaign being run against him. According to Raman, there was a prima donna culture emerging in the team and the campaign against him had gained some unwarranted traction with some BCCI officials. Raman had been in charge of the women’s team for a decent period of time. So it is a bit surprising that the cricket board was not aware of the ongoings.